Counter-protesters take over Bluff park as white nationalist rally never show up

By Steven Matthews

Counter protesters marching their way to Orizaba avenue chanting and raising their signs, during the No White Nationalism in Long Beach Rally at Bluff Park on April 28, 2019. (Jorge Hernandez)

“Up, up, up with the people, down, down, down with the racists,” is one of many chants that could be heard by residents if they drove passed Bluff or Bixby park during an organized rally put on by an left leaning activist coalition.

The activist rally was organized as a response to a far-right rally that was set to take place the same morning.

The counter rally, which took place at 10 a.m on April 28, was organized by a coalition called the Long Beach United Anti-Racist Neighborhood Front, which was comprised of several groups, most notably the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), and the Long Beach chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

The coalition organized as soon as they found out that a far-right group, the United Patriot Nationalist Front, had planned a rally for Bluff Park in Long Beach for April 28.

After the counter rally was announced, the UPNF made changes to its social media pages to indicate that they may have cancelled the event, which left many of the anti-racist coalition to wonder if the far-right would even show up.

That proved to be the case, because when Sunday morning rolled around, the only people to show up was the activist coalition, which effectively turned their counter rally into the only rally.

The activist rally was split up into two parts, with the DSA and other groups marching in Bluff Park, and the PSL marching on the southern edge of Bixby Park.

Combined, both rallies had approximately between 200 and 250 people in attendance.

A counter protester speaking to a crowd and shows supports to the crowd before they began marching during the No White Nationalism in Long Beach rally at Bluff Park. (Jorge Hernandez)

Most people at the rallies expressed jubilance that the far-right rally didn’t show up, including Kevin Joerger, a member of the Long Beach DSA, who took it as a sign that Long Beach was not a favorable place for the far-right to stage a rally.

“It’s great. It’s a good sign and it’s the safest possible outcome, and it shows that there’s power in Long Beach and I don’t think that the white supremacists are gonna try organizing a rally here again because they see that this is what happens if you try this here,” Joerger said.

“That people are willing to change their Sunday plans and turn up to be a part of a larger movement.”

The PSL, which had originally advertised their rally at Bluff Park, held their rally instead in Bixby Park, but that didn’t stop them from making sure that their voices were heard.

Kameron Hurt, a member of PSL and one of the people manning the bull horn and leading chants, believes that the rallies are a necessary response to the resurgence of white nationalism in the U.S. over the last few years.

“The reason that so many of us are out here is because only the unified working people can actually defend ourselves from the racists because, if we only appeal to the wealthy to protect us or the police to defend us, it’s not going to happen that way when you look at American history,” Hurt said.

Both parts of the rally ended around noon without incident.

Thomas Jones skipped work to attend the No White Nationalism counter rally in Bluff Park to show his support for DSA. The rally was filled up with counter protesters, as white nationalist never showed up for their rally. (Abel Reyes)